Angels Among Us

While it’s not usually a premise for a good movie, it’s been successful on television in the incarnations (pardon the pun) of Touched by an Angel and Highway to Heaven. While Disney has put them in the infield and the outfield in an attempt at motion picture comedy, Nicolas Cage’s usually-deft portrayal of a befuddled outsider faltered in the tragedy City of Angels.

Still, his portrayal of Seth and the movie’s script did not try to advance some interpretation of angels as “promoted” dead humans – and there was a hint of the bafflement that a created heavenly being might experience in the world of living saints and sinners.

Maybe it’s not as descriptive, though, as Steven Curtis Chapman’s take on 1 Peter 1:12, titled “Angels Wish.” If you haven’t heard it, try out a sample from iTunes.

A long introduction, I know, but it brings me to my point: I get the impression when reading scripture that angels, who have never experienced materiality (they’re ministering spirits, right?), must observe our world with some measure of perplexity. Just imagine how you or I would feel, being able to glimpse their realm but completely lack words to describe it. Or, better yet, read the attempts of John to do so in the Revelation.

I’m also persuaded that the church of century one believed that angels were with them in their assemblies. Paul tried to disabuse the Colossians of the notion that angels should be worshipped (just as an angel does, twice, with John during the course of his vision). Much of the book of Hebrews seems to debunk their superiority to mankind. Then it draws to its close by advising: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2) That’s a good old-fashioned Jewish call to hospitality, of course – but is the author referring only to the time Abraham hosted three of the heavenly host?

Do angels worship with us? Does it help them sort out our gender by having hair of short length for men and long for women? (1 Corinthians 11:10) Would angels, who are messengers by nature, really appear in our world and preach a gospel (Galatians 1:8), or is Paul using a quaint exaggeration to make his point? Would an angel take the form of someone we know (Acts 12:15), or was that a merely human misunderstanding of how they protect and serve?

Or is it that they did once worship with the church of century one, but no more? Has the day of the rebellious angels’ Judgment already come, as described by Jude?

Is it possible that God has sent these messengers among His saints – not only to protect and serve – but also to observe what faith means among those who have never seen God yet try to live pleasing lives … and report back to Him what they have seen in order for them to get a better grasp of the Really, Really Big Picture?

And if any of what I have proposed above is even remotely possible, how will it affect the way you and I regard the strangers in our assemblies come Sunday morning?

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15 thoughts on “Angels Among Us

  1. Keith, I’m really glad you’re back. You present some very interesting ideas here. Why is it that the topic of angels can so easily grab our attention?A few months back, we spent a couple of Sunday mornings in the Singles class on the topic of angels. Made me want to do some more research of my own, and possibly blog a post or two about angels. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to that yet, but I still hope to sometime in the not too distant future…Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for this post. Is there more on this topic where that came from?Hope you have a wonderful day of worship tomorrow (or, I guess, technically that would be later today…)Much love in Him!–mmlace

  2. Keith, do you think it is well with God for angels to infiltrate our services under a cloud of deception, the omission of truth, or maybe even a lie when you ask where they are from and they give an earthly location. No I won’t treat strangers any differently, I will treat them as I would want to be treated if I were visiting their congregational meeting. That said I would question them more closely if they were to walk through the wall instead of the door.

  3. laymond, you make a good point – and I’m with you on the wall entrance! But would the angels among us in our worship necessarily be visible to us? Or might they just be tagging along invisibly as we entertain strangers, to see if we show God’s hospitality to them?

  4. Keith, I don’t think God needs to use angels to spy on us, I believe he sees everything as it occurs, allthough that could explain just how he sees everything at once. but I thought angels were to be helpers not little tattletales. “I’m gona tell daddy”

  5. laymond: Agreed. But are they observing us out of their own need, rather that God’s?God doesn’t really <>need<> us to put the gospel into the hearts of others, either; He could encode it genetically in us or write it with stars in the night sky.What I’m wondering (and a large part of it is in that previous post I referenced, < HREF="http://keithbrenton.blogspot.com/2007/02/really-really-big-picture.html" REL="nofollow">The Really, Really Big Picture<>) is whether our faith might be the standard by which the angels are judged … that we are blessed by having believed though not having seen, and in that way we “judge angels.”

  6. Could be, I don’t claim to know all the mystries of God, or even life. The angels are just one of those mystries. Maybe, just Maybe someday.

  7. My biggest question is why does the world portray angels as female when the Bible always portrays angels as male? I’ve yet to find a female angel in the Bible.

  8. laymond said… Keith, I don’t think God needs to use angels to spy on us, I believe he sees everything as it occurs, laymond, I believe that, as well, but what about when he sent the angels to Sodom to see if things were really as bad as was being said? Did he really need to send them, and if not, why did he?don

  9. I am enjoying ease-dropping on this conversation. I like the thought that angels could be watching and seeing what our actions tell about us….God knows our heart…but what are our actions telling the silent observer?

  10. don, I don’t read this as sending someone to verify things are bad I believe they had something else in mind.Gen 19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

  11. I have a post on my blog about entertaining angels. I believe that angels are among us today. I believe that they are here to encourage us and give us strength. I believe that they report back to God the jobs that we are doing as Christians as far as our kindness and hospitality. I believe that they help us fight the spiritual warfare that war are faced win according to Eph. 6:10-ff. I have heard stories of angels where I believe that angels have been in place to protect Christians from harm. I don’t believe that we should worship angels as we see in scripture. But, I definately believe that they are among us and that give me peace, hope, and keeps me strong in the faith. Keith, great post brother. God bless you as you serve Him! It love reading your blog it has blessed my faith in many ways.

  12. peg, I have been waiting for Keith to answer your question about why earthly angels are female, and biblical angels are men. you are right I to have not found a place where an angel came to earth as a woman, but that said, you girls just look like what angels are supposed to look like. If we look at what Jesus said when ask about whose wife would she be in heaven, we could draw the conclusion there is no gender in heaven. an angel is an angel.

  13. BTW peg how do you think angels would be portrayed if women had translated the bible into english?actually I would be intrested in seeing women scholars translate the greek text.

  14. One thing those of us at Pleaant Valley do know is that we will never see an angel here disguised as a Muslim or maybe even an Arab since our war on Muslims in this place is raging even as we read our bulletin.

  15. COMMANDING ANGELS“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? {Hebrews 1: 14}.Yes, angels play a great part in helping Christians to live in this world; The Lord showed me in a dream vision on how to command angels to make life easier. I was walking in a beautiful garden with God our heavenly Father, He was very tall, I could not see His face but I knew that it was God. He said to me, “Angels must be sent out with the voice of authority”. He showed me many butterflies in His beautiful garden, and He said, “Tell them to go”. So I said, “go”, just a few took off. Then He said, “ This is not the way”, and He put one of His hands behind Him, and then brought it forward forcefully with the voice of authority, and said “ GO”, and a great multitude which could not be numbered took off, then He raised His other hand and repeated, “GO”, another great multitude took flight. Still He was not finished, then He raised both hands behind His head, then bringing them forward with such force and with a mighty voice of authority, He said, “GO”, and all you could see was butterflies filling the air. He then turned to me and said, “This is how you must send my angels out before you with the voice of authority”. Many times I have sent these angelic beings out with the voice of authority, commanding them to go in the mighty name of Jesus, and they have never failed to obey, no matter how big or small the task might be, let us always remember that we have a great heavenly host ready to go into action in and through the mighty name of Jesus. So you see angels are to minister, yes serve us, for we are the heirs of salvation, the chosen ones, and we are to send them forth as the Bible says in {Hebrews 1 v 14}.

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